Essay on Need of National Integration:
India is a vast country. It has been called a sub-continent. About 138 crore people live in it. They differ widely in their religions, castes, languages, dress, food habits, manners etc. The problem is how to unite these different people into a single whole. In other words, it means how to bring about national integration and emotional unity.
A glance at the history of India shows that internal differences and quarrels have been her worst enemy. Separatist tendencies have always resulted in her fall. This will explain why India remained a slave under one conqueror after another for so many centuries.
No doubt, under British rule the use of one common language, English and the introduction of swift means of communication did much to bring all the Indian closer together. But this unity today is threatened by Communalism, Casteism, Regionalism and Linguism. People are liable to think of themselves as so many Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Bengalis, Kashmiris, etc. but not so many Indians. Communalism is the greatest threat to the security of the country. It is high time that communal bodies should be banned. Linguism is another threat. The North of the country is broadly speaking, pro-Hindi while the South is in favour of retaining English as the official language of the country. The language controversy has been creating very serious problems and generating enough heat and violence and bad blood among the people.
Regionalism too has given a setback to national unity. Provincial loyalties take precedence over the national. Some time back there was a movement by DMK that the South should be separate from the North. The demand of the Nagas for a separate state has already been accepted. Punjab was divided into Haryana and Punjab Suba. Now the extremists among the Sikhs demand Khalistan, their homeland. A number of regional parties have raised their ugly heads and demanded more powers for the various states. In addition to the above, communalism is another poisonous serpent. Communal riots are a daily occurrence. The Hindus and the Muslims and now the Sikhs fight like bitter enemies. All these tendencies are a serious threat to the unity and integrity of the country.
Some time back the Central Government revived the National Integration Council to go into the problem in-depth and suggest some effective and speedy remedies. It has made many useful suggestions.
First of all, we have to bring about unity in diversity and not uniformity. In fact, uniformity is neither possible nor desirable. The country as a whole has some cultural unity that needs to be strengthened. The country should be regarded as supreme and everything else should be subordinated to it. Loyalty to our country should be the keynote of our national character. Such unity the Indians did show in 1962 when China attacked us and in 1971 when Pakistan invaded us. All differences were sunk and the country rose as one man against the invaders. In the distant past, too, we had such unity under Ashoka and Akbar. But the spirit of national unity and oneness generated in times of stress and strain did not last long. What is needed is national unity on some sold and permanent basis.
The National Integration is the crying need of the hour. Every effort should be made to create emotional unity among all the people of India. Vigorous propaganda should be done through the press and the platform, the radio, the television, the cinema etc., to educate people that the whole of India is one and its culture is basically one and their differences are simply superficial.
Again, the mentality of the young should be changed at an early stage in schools and colleges. Textbooks should be suitably revised. The books on History, Geography and Social Studies should be written and taught from the national, and not the narrow, regional point of view.
The bi-lingual formula should be enforced. The people of the North must study at least one language of the South. Similarly, the people of the South must learn one language, particularly Hindi of the North. Free exchanges of student groups and cultural missions are also very important. Long-distance tours from one part of the country to another world also go a long way in bringing about national unity. Steps should be taken to appoint teachers on the basis of merit and not on the consideration of their religion, caste or region.
In the end, it may be said that the press should not be allowed to write from the narrow party, regional or communal point of view. The interests of the nation as a whole should not be ignored. All communal forces, regional tendencies anti-national and anti-social elements should be suppressed with a heavy hand. The formation of national parties should be discouraged because they weaken the centre and lead to separatist tendencies. In short, the spirit of national unity should be created by all possible means.